Pub Date: October 2005, 22 West Books
Source/FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received and my opinions are my own.
When his knee shatters on the playing field, Charlie Marston is plunged into turmoil. His perspective suddenly shifts from sports superstar to regular (albeit wealthy) winemaker. He enters the world of work by way of the family winemaking business. The closeness of day to day operations with his parents illuminates qualities in them that he had consciously denied until now. Soon his youthful passion seeks a new outlet to replace the football career he's lost and he finds a new friend named Randy Black. Randy is part stunt-pilot, part Casanova, and part drunken Pied Piper. Randy leads him into terrifying predicaments that become more exciting and more dangerous with each passing day. Charlie doesn't resist until an ill-conceived stunt, compounded by drunken judgment, explodes in consequences that chase Charlie and Randy back home to Massachusetts. Charlie must eventually decide where his moral boundaries should be drawn as he contends with the after-effects of a half dozen mistakes that threaten to engulf him and his family.
Sin and Vengeance is a grounded thriller, with realistic action that readers will believe. The book was titled Sin and Vengeance because the book's characters commit varying degrees of sin. The book follows the repercussions of those mistakes and explores how sins change the characters' lives and the lives of those around them. While the book's theme cautions us about sin and its effects, on the surface the book is an action-packed thriller with characters alternately tempted by evil and rushing away from the consequences of their decisions.
I first heard about this book when the author, CJ West, contacted me on my Book Blogs page. After reading the synopsis, I thought it sounded intriguing, especially since I've been getting more interested in thrillers lately. I still hadn't gotten around to getting a copy when I received an offer from West for the e-book version. By the way, this book is also going to be made into a movie and it's funny, while I was reading it I kept thinking it would be an awesome movie and then I remembered that it was going to be made into one. Silly me :-) Seriously, though, there are many scenes that I can't wait to see on the big screen.
I have to say that I'm really glad CJ West contacted me, because I'm not sure if I would have come across this book otherwise--at least not for awhile. I admit it starts out a little hot and heavy for me, but that is relevant to the plot and from there it leads straight into non-stop action. Be forewarned, it's a little graphically violent at times--I had to skim a few sections, just like I'll probably cringe away from the screen at the theater during the more bloody scenes. Oh yes, I plan to go see Sin & Vengeance when it's released, no doubt about it.
The plotting of this book is incredibly involved and detailed, with writing that is appropriately descriptive yet fast-paced. (Unfortunately, I came across a few typos, but nothing that detracted too much from the story.**UPDATE: Please see CJ West's comment to the post below--these typos are related to a Hidden Code Contest, how cool is that?!) Really, West's pacing is great, especially when you consider that this was his first book. He develops his characters masterfully--particularly Randy Black, and what a complex individual he is. Since I was working with an e-book, I found myself sneaking peeks at it during work yesterday, continued reading it last night and had to finish it this morning. If you like thrillers, then you will definitely enjoy reading Sin & Vengeance and I bet you'll find it hard to put down.